~62a_ .A TRUE STORIES OF OLD
weeks before it occurred. It was a mask ball and was always
an enjoyable event.
Now, what made me think of those gay and festive times
was meeting my old friend, Mr. Henry House last week. I had
not seen him in years and would never have known him had he
not told me who he was. When I last saw him he was a frail,
bright-eyed, rather delicate young man, while today, as everybody
knows, he is a rather portly, handsome and dignified
business man. I remember his rosy cheeks and slight form of
years ago, for on one occasion they led to my undoing.
In the spring of 1872 or 1873 there was given one of the
grandest Purim balls in the history of the association. People
talked about it for weeks before it camq off. A great many
people from neighboring cities were invited, and when the
night for the ball arrived many were here from Galveston,
Austin, Waco, Dallas and from points on the San Antonio Road.
Soon after I entered the ball room, I met Captain Conradi,
who told me that he wanted me to take charge of a young lady
who was visiting his family and had arrived that evening from
New Braunfels. She was not in costume or mask, but he did
not think that would bar her from the dancing floor, and it did
not. He introduced me to her and I danced with her. She
was so graceful and danced so well that half the fellows in
the hall wanted to be introduced at once. I saw her program
filled for the entire evening in a few moments and soon she
was easily the belle of the ball.
I had reserved one or two dances for myself and I enjoyed
every one of them. I took her to supper and before the evening
was half over she had me head over heels in love with her. She
was so pretty, so natural and altogether such a lovely girl that
she captured the hearts of half the young men she met. I
knew she had me, good and fast.
After supper the order came to unmask and then we began to
find out who we had been dancing with. Of course, my young
lady did not have to unmask, for she had none on, therefore we
were all surprised when Captain Conradi gave her his arm and
escorted her to the stage. Then he introduced her to the audience
by her right name, which was-Henry House, Jr. All
of us young fellows collapsed, but so many had been taken in,
and the joke was so far-reaching that we took comfort in the
fact that everybody else was fooled as badly as we were.
The next day in its account of the ball, the Age said:
"But the very greatest imposition and cheat in the masquerade-the
truth of which assertion some 20 or 80 young
beaux can attest to their great mortification-was Mr. Henry
House, Jr., whose lithe figure and undergrown proportions suited
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed April 1, 2015.